I’ve been promising this post for a while: a gender audit of the recent collectible Lego minifigures sets, following my gender audit of Polly’s Duplo and Lego.
As I’ve been talking a lot recently about Lego, minifigures and gender, I’ve had a lot of comments (here, on twitter or elsewhere). The main one has been about how I have identified the gender of the figures. I started on a very detailed audit including various identifying sexual characteristics, such as presence/absence of facial hair, makeup, eyelashes, breasts, masculine musculature, waist/hips, and the type of eyebrows. This was hard work and it is on an indefinite break about 33% of the way through our collection. A much simpler solution has presented itself to me:
1. Limit the audit to the collectible series only,
2. Use the official Lego biographies of the characters to define gender,
3. Let you know if my gut disagreed with any of the Lego given genders, and why.
Please note that the genders of series seven are NOT taken from the Lego bios, as they have not as yet been released. They are based on my own interpretation of this image instead.
All the collections have 16 minifigures. Percentages of each gender are shown in the pie charts below, by series, followed by a plot of the change in female % over time.
So, in general, the first series had a mere two female figures, but the picture has gradually improved since then. We are now at a static 31% mark for the last (current?) two series.
The female characters, for those interested, are as follows:
Series 1: Cheerleader, Nurse (2)
Series 2: Lifeguard, Pop Star, Witch (3)
Series 3: Tennis Player, Hula Girl, Snowboarder (3)
Series 4: “Kimono Girl” (a Geisha), Ice Skater, Surfer (3)
Series 5: Cave Girl (Polly calls her Bam Bam), Egyptian Queen, Zoo Keeper, Fitness Instructor (4)
Series 6: Flamenco Dancer, Statue of Liberty, Surgeon, Skater, “Intergalactic Girl” (a Space Warrior type) (5)
Series 7: Bride, Viking, Rock Star, Olympic Swimmer, Red Riding Hood (5)
The vaguely ambiguous characters, where present, were:
Series 1: Robot and Demolition Dummy, both gendered male by their biographies.
Series 2: none (unless you count the Skier, but he has no eyelashes anyway)
Series 3: Mummy and Space Villain, both gendered male by their biographies. The Alien isn’t gendered in the bio (thus classed as “other” above)
Series 4: none
Series 5: none
Series 6: Clockwork Robot, gendered male in the biography, is not human (the robot head is not a mask, unlike the gorilla & dragon)
Series 7: Easter Bunny – can’t read the bio and don’t have the minifig, but there are no eyelashes present.
I’d love to calculate an estimate as to when we’ll finally hit an equal male/female balance (which may of course not be 50%) but that’s maths beyond my 2am brain I’m afraid.
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Thanks for doing this. It serves as an interesting contrast to my own evaluation of the genders of the collectible minifigs (which ignored their official biographies).